Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
UMass Amherst
UMass Amherst
Original photo by Anumeha Rajvanshi

Little Fish in a Big Pond: How to Navigate the Campus of UMass Amherst

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

When you think of UMass Amherst, what comes to mind? Maybe the number one best campus food, or maybe the multiple Western Mass farms full of cattle. Both of those stand true, however, an aspect of UMass Amherst that may not come to mind immediately is the large campus itself. The campus of UMass Amherst lays on about 1,450 acres of land. Also, with over 32,000 students, it’s safe to say that UMass Amherst is big. Despite it’s overwhelming size, it’s possible for each student at UMass Amherst to make the campus feel a little smaller and more manageable.

Catch a Bus

Most academic buildings at UMass Amherst lie in the center of campus, making it accessible for students to swiftly go from one class to another. However, some academic buildings are, unfortunately, far from the center of campus, and sometimes will make going from one class to the far opposite side of campus for another class a stressful experience. While walking that distance is an option, another option is taking the PVTA, the UMass Transit buses. By downloading the Transit app, you can easily enter the destination you want to go and find a bus running to take you there. The PVTA bus system is especially useful for those who live in Orchard Hill dorms as there’s a bus that stops at the top of the hill, relieving you from having to walk up the hill after a long day.

UMass Amherst campus pond
Katherine Dickey

Find a Non-Crowded Study Spot

One of my favorite ways to study is getting an iced coffee, sitting down at a table in a quiet (but not too quiet) area, and rewriting my notes while sipping on my coffee. Making studying a fun and frequent routine for yourself can benefit your academic life. I like to find an area on campus to study during the long breaks between my classes during the day. It’s easier for myself to find a study spot rather than going back to my dorm— which I know if I do go back to my dorm, I’ll just end up taking a nap. Taking a nap between classes is totally fine, but with a heavy workload it’s also important to find the time to manage your work! Since UMass Amherst is such a big campus, there are so many study spots to choose from. If you’re over in the Northeast area, the Integrated Sciences Building is a favorite of mine. There’s a café on the first floor, and if you go up to the fourth floor there’s a partially closed-in area with tables (and many outlets) overlooking part of campus. Over in the Central Area lies many of the Art Department buildings, including the John W. Olver Design Building. They also house a café and many sitting spots where you can study, eat, or just enjoy the beautiful architecture of the building. A hidden perk of this building is the rooftop garden. If you go all the way up the stairs in the design building, you’ll find an outside garden that has a patio around it, as well as tables and chairs. It’s a serene spot to do your homework, but also to enjoy nature and a beautiful day.

Find an Area, Make it Yours

A way to make the UMass Amherst campus familiar to you is to find a spot on campus to go to regularly. It’s a great idea to find an area that you can rely on that is not too busy so you can always find a spot to relax, study, or meet up with friends. Also, when you create a routine of going to this one particular place, you’ll start to see familiar faces everyday of the people who also have made this place their spot. It’s comforting to see a familiar face every day and makes the campus feel much smaller.

UMass Marching Band (resubmission in correct form)
Photo by Hanna Jane Kilduff

As someone who grew up in a small town, the thought of going to UMass Amherst was scary for me. I knew of it as a big campus with many students, and I really wondered if I’d ever find my place. The second day of my freshman year, I walked 27,000 steps in one day because I really had no idea where I was going. But now, that number of steps per day has been majorly cut down. I can easily get to all my classes because I know the fastest routes to get to them. I can focus on my work by treating myself to a coffee and looking over my notes. I can feel a sense of comfort by going to the same study spot every day to meet friends or just take a moment to breathe. Starting over in a new, big place is terrifying, but once you find your footing and create a routine, it does get easier. You learn that you can adjust to change, and while change can be scary and unknown, it also holds the possibility of being just what you needed to find yourself.

Can’t get enough of HC UMass Amherst? Be sure to follow us on Instagram, listen to us on Spotify, like us on Facebook, and read our latest Tweets!

Rose Kelly

U Mass Amherst '26

Rose is a sophomore at UMass Amherst studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences with an Art minor. She loves spending time at the beach, painting in watercolors, and eating Purple Cow ice cream.